Gaza War Facts

Jan 28, 2024 | History, Read Now

Frequently Asked Questions
Click here to view a downloadable PDF.

Updated: November 22
Question: What are the details of the hostage deal Israel agreed to?

Answer: On November 21, Israel agreed to a U.S.-brokered deal to free 50 women and children being held hostage by Hamas in exchange for a four day pause in the fighting and the release of some 150 Palestinian prisoners. Aid trucks with humanitarian supplies will continue to enter Gaza during this pause, and fuel will also be allowed in. This agreement is a direct byproduct of the tremendous progress of Israel’s military operation to degrade and destroy Hamas, and is further proof that sustained Israeli military pressure on Hamas is essential for gaining the release of hostages.

More Information: Even as the hostages are expected to be released, almost 200 remain in Gaza, being held captive by Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups. The United States and international community must continue to demand the immediate and unconditional release of all the hostages. The kidnapping of 240 hostages was part of Hamas’ despicable and brutal ISIS-like attack of October 7. Ripping people from their homes – including women and children – is a barbaric war crime and a violation of both international law and basic humanity. The U.S. must give Israel the resources, diplomatic support, and time required for the IDF to achieve its war objectives: free all the hostages, ensure Hamas can never again commit another massacre, and drive Hamas out of power.


Question: What is Israel’s goal for the operation in Gaza?

Answer: Israel intends to eliminate Hamas’ military capabilities and end its ability to govern Gaza. Israel must ensure that Hamas can never again carry out atrocities against Israeli families.

More Information: This is an unprovoked war by Hamas on Israel. This isn’t a war of Israel’s choosing, but a war Hamas and Iran made necessary. This unprecedented attack requires an unprecedented response by Israel.


Question: Is now the time for a ceasefire?

Answer: Calling for a ceasefire now paints Israel as the aggressor and would allow Hamas to stay in power. Israel must be given the time and support it needs to destroy Hamas as a military force and remove it from power. There will never be peace while Hamas is in control of Gaza.

More Information: A ceasefire is in effect a maintenance of the status quo, allowing Hamas to continue to use Gaza as a launching pad for terrorism against Israel. Calling for a ceasefire now is to deny Israel’s right to defend its citizens from terrorism. Hamas is still launching rockets at Israel and holding over 240 Israelis and foreign nationals hostage. Israel has every right to wage a defensive war against Hamas and continue its operation until Hamas is fully defeated.


Question: Are Israel’s actions in Gaza illegal?

Answer: Israel, like every nation, has the absolute right to self-defense. Israel is acting according to international law after the unprovoked attack by Hamas.

More Information: Israel is defending itself and undertaking military action to achieve specific, legitimate military aims. Israel exclusively targets Hamas and other terrorist groups while taking unparalleled steps to avoid civilian casualties. The terrorist organization violates international law by deliberately using its civilians as human shields.


[The AIPAC Report continues]


Question: Is Israel illegally displacing Gaza residents?

Answer: Israel has asked Gaza residents to voluntarily move south to protect their own lives. This is both legal and moral.

More Information: Israel needs to dismantle Hamas infrastructure in northern Gaza and has asked residents to leave temporarily to avoid the fighting. International law specifically allows the involuntary temporary removal of persons to meet a military imperative and enhance the safety of civilians. Egypt has refused to open its crossing with Gaza to allow civilians to leave.


Question: Is Israel illegally imposing a siege on Gaza? Israel cannot deny food, water or electricity to Gaza.

Answer: No. The U.S. and Israel worked together to establish a safe zone in southern Gaza for civilians and a corridor to bring humanitarian aid, including food, water, and medical supplies, from Egypt into Gaza. In the past, Hamas has stolen and repurposed international aid for its terror purposes, including on October 16th when it stole fuel and medical equipment from UNRWA. Under international law, a military force is not required to supply its enemy.

More Information: Hamas destroyed the main border crossings through which humanitarian aid is delivered as well as electric lines supplying power to the Gaza Strip. Hamas has prepared for this war for months, stockpiling resources including food, fuel, water, medical supplies, and more. Hamas chooses not to share the resources with Gazans in need, using it for terror purposes instead. America must ensure aid is delivered to civilians and not stolen by Hamas.


Question: Is Israel employing white phosphorus munitions?

Answer: Israel categorically denied reports that it has used white phosphorus in its war against Hamas. Reuters reported a statement from the Israeli military, saying: “The current accusation made against the IDF regarding the use of white phosphorus in Gaza is unequivocally false.”

More Information: White phosphorus is deployed by militaries to mark targets or create smoke screens, though it can also cause severe burns and start fires. The United States military has previously used white phosphorus, including during the war in Iraq. The use of white phosphorus munitions is not banned under international law.


Question: What are “humanitarian pauses” and is Israel providing them?

Answer: Humanitarian pauses are brief stops in the fighting intended to allow humanitarian assistance to enter and reach certain areas in Gaza. Israel has allowed for “humanitarian pauses” to facilitate the flow of humanitarian assistance into the Gaza Strip and allow civilians to leave areas of heavy fighting. On November 9, the United States and Israel announced that the IDF will implement daily four-hour pauses of military operations to facilitate additional humanitarian aid. Humanitarian pauses must be limited in time and location, include protections to ensure aid is distributed exclusively and effectively to civilians and not stolen by Hamas, and not interfere with Israel’s right to defend its citizens and achieve its military objectives. On November 21, Israel agreed to a four day pause in the fighting to facilitate the release of 50 hostages held by Hamas.

More Information: A humanitarian pause is not ceasefire. Calling for a “ceasefire” is to call for an indefinite termination of hostilities that would leave in place the status quo, prevent Israel from achieving its military objectives, and ensure Hamas remains in power and able to attack Israel again in the future. There was a ceasefire in place on October 6 before Hamas’ unprovoked attack on October 7; a ceasefire now would only enable Hamas to carry out further attacks on Israel.


Question: Did Hamas use Shifa Hospital for military operations?

Answer: Yes. It has been an open secret for years that Hamas uses the Shifa Hospital complex as a command-and-control center, embedding its terrorist infrastructure within and underneath the hospital. Hamas embeds itself within hospitals, schools, mosques, and other civilian infrastructure throughout the Gaza Strip — intentionally using civilians as human shields to deter Israeli attacks. Shifa Hospital is believed to be a key location in Hamas’ tunnel network, sitting above underground infrastructure capable of housing hundreds of terrorists. President Biden said: “One thing that’s been established is that Hamas does have headquarters, weapons, materials below this hospital and I suspect others.” This has been confirmed independently by U.S. intelligence sources, and the IDF has published evidence of Hamas’ use of the hospital, including video footage of hostages being brought there, caches of weapons discovered, and tunnels within the complex.

More Information: Under international law, it is a war crime to use a hospital as a military facility. Using civilian infrastructure for military purposes turns it into a legitimate military target. In 2016, during the United States’ war on ISIS, the Al Salem hospital complex in Mosul was used by ISIS as a base of operations and command-and-control headquarters. Coalition aircraft conducted a precision strike on the hospital to target the terrorists firing from the hospital complex, acting in compliance with the Law of Armed Conflict. Western countries cannot succumb to terrorist blackmail and allow the brutality and criminality of terrorist organizations to shield them from legitimate military strikes.

View this AIPAC FAQ on the Gaza War From January 28th